JOHN G. MARTIN. - John G. Martin, custodian and gardener of Washington Park of Springfield, dates his residence in this city from 1873. He was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, March 6, 1847, and is a representative of a family of Irish origin. His father, Felix Martin, was born on the Emerald Isle in 1800, and in 1819 came to this country, settling in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He learned the trades of a carpenter, builder and architect in London and followed those pursuits throughout his business career. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Susan Gray, was born in Ireland in 1800 and died in 1862, while his death occurred in August, 1869. They were the parents of five daughters and three sons, and the sons all served as loyal defenders of the Union cause in the Civil war. Philip died in Andersonville prison and Edward C., who was born in 1849, enlisted in 1862, when only thirteen years of age. He was in the one hundred days' service and also was with the army for nine months at another time. When last heard from he was in Boise, Idaho.
John G. Martin attended the public schools of his native city and when about twelve years of age he went to work on a vessel engaged in the fruit trade with Cuba, being thus employed for two years. He afterward engaged in clerking in grocery stores until the Civil war was inaugurated, when he enlisted in his native town, becoming a member of Company K, Third Rhode island Heavy Artillery, August 20, 1862. This regiment was assigned to the Department of the South, and he took part in all of its engagements until he had served for forty-five days longer than his three years' term of enlistment. He was in the battles of Wagner, James Island, Pocataligo, and was with General Reynolds in Florida. For about a year he was stationed at Fort Pulaski, and he received an honorable discharge at Providence, Rhode Island, October 5, 1864. After three years' loyal service he returned to his home and was then but eighteen years of age. On the 16th of November of the same year he went to Nashville, Tennessee, and remained in the quartermaster's department and acted as scout until June 2, 1865. His is certainly a most creditable military record of a brave soldier boy.
After the close of the war Mr. Martin worked in an upholstering establishment in Boston, serving in different departments. He worked at ivory-turning during a part of that time. In 1869 he spent a month in Illinois and then went to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he was employed in a shingle mill. In the fall he came to Springfield and subsequently went to St. Louis and then to Springfield, Missouri, where he purchased a horse and on horseback proceeded alone through the Indian Territory and Kansas, intending to locate a homestead, but as the country did not meet his expectations he went to Denver and joined a United States surveying party under Colonel Fellows, spending the summer in that work in Wyoming. He next joined a bridge gant working in various places, but made his home in Springfield. He also engaged in farming for a few years, and thus his time was occupied until 1883, when he began working in the greenhouses of A. C. Brown, having charge of the work there for about seventeen years. He afterward spent a year in the store, in the retail department, and for one season was connected with Spaulding's nursery. On the 15th of October, 1901, he was appointed by the park board to the position he now occupies. He is not only custodian of Washington Park, but also has charge of the shrubbery and has done much for the improvement and beautifying of the park. he is certainly qualified by his long experience for this work, and his labors are giving entire satisfaction.
In 1893, in Springfield, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Martin and Miss Margaret Walsh, who was born in Madison county, Illinois, where her father followed farming. Three children were born to them, but a son and a daughter died in infancy. The living daughter, Mary E., is now six years of age. Mr. Martin belongs to the Royal Circle and the Catholic church. his life has been characterized by industry, determination and perseverance, and to these salient traits may be attributed whatever success he has enjoyed.